Programme: Art - PhD/MPhil

Start date: 09/2022

Mode of study: Full time

Research title: Suffocating Softness: Conceptualising Cuteness To Address Unspoken Emotional Wounds In East Asian Intergenerational Relationships

Hiu Tung Yip is a practising researcher from Hong Kong with a visual design and jewellery-making background. She holds an MRes in Arts and Humanities and an MA in Jewellery and Metal from the Royal College of Art, as well as an MFA in Jewellery from Alchimia the Contemporary Jewellery School in Florence, Italy. She has also received the Arts & Crafts Design Merit Award in 2018.

Hiu Tung’s works have been exhibited internationally in shows such as London X Tokyo Jewellery Cultural Exchange (London, 2020), Collect (London, 2019), CODA Paper Art (Apeldoorn, 2019), and Marzee International Graduate Show (Nijmegen, 2020, 2018).

Hiu Tung was selected for the teaching placement scheme to work with the Silversmithing and Jewellery department of the Glasgow School of Art in 2020. She also worked as a visiting lecturer in the Jewellery and Metal department at the Royal College of Art.

Hiu Tung’s practice research develops existing theories of cuteness by conceptualising it as a sensibility from an autoethnographic perspective.

For her, growing up in a Hong Kong household, love was mainly expressed in material provisions. Cute objects were given as gifts, conditional rewards, and comfort objects, along with high expectations and “tough love”.

Cuteness was ingrained in how she lastingly understands care and discipline – it became a sensibility that permeated beyond conventional cute objects and its affective influences beyond childhood.

Through conceptualising cuteness as part of how one understands love and hurt, Hiu Tung explores how intergenerational unprocessed experiences contribute to one’s emotional wounds and shape her sense of belonging; she investigates the entanglement of cuteness and sentimental objects within family dynamics, through a reflexive practice of creative writing, wearable sculptures, and photography.

Subjective accounts of Hiu Tung’s upbringing and cultural background as a Hongkonger underpin this research, which expands into autoethnographic observations on the social commonalities of East Asian cultures.